The Boomerang Age from Childhood to Adulthood: Emergent Trends and Issues for Aging Families


  • Barbara A. Mitchell Dept. of Sociology/Anthropology and Dept. of Gerontology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby British Columbia



From a historical, cross-comparative, life course perspective, this paper examines changing family-related transitions to adulthood and emergent trends and issues for aging families. Primary focus is placed on Canadian families, although comparisons will be made with several Western industrialized countries (U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Sweden). Using nationally representative data, key findings reveal a general extension of young adulthood, in addition to continuation, diversity and reversibility of family behaviours. Future patterns are also explored, in light of other socio-demographic and socio-economic change. It is concluded that aging families of the future will likely display elements of both modified individualism and increased diversification.